Repeated Use of Chlorine Gas Against Civilians in Eastern Ghouta: Who Stops Assad?

Assad regime forces have once again used chlorine poison against civilians in the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta despite the strong international warnings to stop the use of this banned type of weapon as well as calls for commitment to UN Security Council resolution 2401. The resolution called for at least 30-day ceasefire and the delivery of humanitarian aid to those in need.

The Syrian Civil Defense in Rural Damascus said that 124 civilians, mostly women and children, suffered from asphyxiation after Assad forces targeted the area located between the towns of Saqba and Hammouriya with a barrel bomb containing poisonous chlorine gas.

As many as 92 civilians were killed on Wednesday in aerial and artillery bombardment on eastern Ghouta. The Syrian Coalition said that the onslaught on the Damascus suburb constituted genocide which is being carried out with direct support from Russia.

The United Nations has stepped up its rhetoric against the practices of the Assad regime and its backers over the past few days. Chairman of the UN Independent Commission of Inquiry, Paulo Pinheiro, confirmed that the Assad regime committed war crimes by using chemical weapons against civilians.

United Nations human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said that “recent attempts to justify indiscriminate, brutal attacks on hundreds of thousands of civilians by the need to combat a few hundred fighters – as in Eastern Ghouta – are legally, and morally, unsustainable.”

“Also, when you are prepared to kill your own people so easily, lying is easy too. Claims by the Government of Syria that it is taking every measure to protect its civilian population are frankly ridiculous,” Hussein told the UN Human Rights Council on Wednesday.

The Syrian Coalition on Wednesday said that stopping the genocide in eastern Ghouta requires measures bypassing Russia’s attempts to disrupt the Security Council and prevent the achievement of international justice, including military measures.

These measures should include deterrent military action to put an end to the onslaught by the Assad regime and the Iranian terrorist militias against our people trapped in eastern Ghouta; punish war criminals and perpetrators of the crime of using chemical weapons and toxic gases; and protect millions of Syrians whose cities and homes are being destroyed,” the Coalition added.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department / 08.03.2018)

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